Anime A to Z: L – Love Live! School Idol Project (S1 + S2)

Another letter down, and another anime I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did!
I’m convinced that I need to challenge what I “think” I enjoy more often.

The anime this time around was Love Live! School Idol Project, both seasons. A while back I made the decision to include an idol anime in the A to Z challenge, because it’s a genre that I never had any interest in – typically high school girl anime and the humor that comes along with it isn’t my cup of tea. Or so I thought.

Hard to say for sure whether Love Live! was an exception or if I need to try out another high school girl anime at some point in the future.

Anyways, let’s talk Love Live! School Idol Project.
Not to be confused with the other Love Live!, Love Live! Sunshine!! which I may have to give a watch at some point in the future!

Love Live! School Idol Project spoilers ahead!

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Premise

I thought the premise was great. A group of girls trying to become successful / popular school idols in order to save their high school from closing down due to decreasing admissions. Simple and effective. I’m actually reminded a lot of Sora Yori in this regard. The cause seems more noble in Love Live!, but both anime create a straightforward goal and use it as a foundation upon which to really dig in and develop the characters.

And because of this, Love Live! to me felt like very character-centric anime that uses a simple overarching premise to unite the characters and develop them. It really felt like each individual girl in Muse (the idol group they form in Love Live!) changed in some way or another from when we first met them. It’s not exactly the same type of satisfaction that I would get from watching a shounen protagonist reaching a new power level, but there is something nice about watching the girls overcome obstacles and grow.

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Characters

Love Live! is all about the characters. Each member of Muse is a valued part of the anime, with their own obstacles to overcome. Some develop early on, others much later. Eventually they all grow to become a great idol group.

It’s fun watching all nine members of Muse, because they all have their own quirks and personalities. I think the anime does a good job at distinguishing them all, no member feels too similar to another. You sort of get to know them all, and eventually in scenes with all nine of them you can develop a general idea of what each of them is likely thinking. It’s a nice varied main cast.

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My one issue with the large main cast would only be that each member (with a few exceptions) basically goes through one big obstacle, and after that they are as developed as they will ever be. I know that many anime do this, where they will dedicate one episode at a time to a different character, but it sort of feels two-dimensional / predictable to tackle each character one by one. Maybe it would be too chaotic to cover multiple issues at once from different characters, but I feel like that also might feel a little more real. More real than each character hiding an issue until they get an episode dedicated to it and it gets solved…

A lot of anime do this though, so this really is a criticism of something that I see very often.

The Energy

The one quality of Love Live! that got me hooked from episode 1 is the energy. I didn’t anticipate getting hooked on a high school girl anime. I had trouble finishing Sora Yori because I was so disinterested. And yet, Love Live! had me watching non-stop, having to force myself to shut it down so I could get some sleep (I watch anime at night). I can’t quite explain it, but something about Honoka, and eventually, Muse, just really had me interested and excited about what was going to happen with them.

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Can you feel it?

The Music

I also enjoyed the music, and looked forward to hearing them perform their new songs. The dancing aspect felt a little off, because I didn’t like how the 3d portions took away details from the character’s faces / outfits. Going from 3d back to 2d and having the detail come back was a little weird. I didn’t hate the 3d, but felt like the transitions from 2d to 3d and vice versa were the bigger issue. Regardless, I mostly anticipated the songs, and the outfits. The dance routines themselves I didn’t pay too much attention to, although I had fun trying to single out a single girl and watch her movements amidst the entire group.

Favourite outfits were the ones they used in one of their final performances, where they all wore different coloured outfits. I had been wondering when they were going to use outfits like that, because I thought it would look nice to see all nine wearing a unique colour. The Halloween performance outfits were great too though!

My favourite song was actually their first one, Start:Dash!!

Best Girl

Maki-chan is the best girl in Love Live!. She caught my eye early on, and eventually won my pick for best girl in Love Live!.

Why?

Well, all of the girls are cute in their own way, no doubt about that.

I love her purple eyes. Yes, Honoka has very vivid blue eyes that you can’t miss, but Maki has a lovely pair of purple eyes. I found them very noticeable for some reason. I also do enjoy the colour purple in anime, whether it be hair colour or eye colour in this case.

While I’m not normally the tsundere fan (something about tsunderes beating up male characters for mundane reasons), because there was no romance involved, I took a liking to Maki’s attitude in Love Live!. While all of the other characters were usually beaming with smiles, Maki could generally be found with a frowny face. And this just makes it that much more special when Maki actually does break out in a big smile.

I like her character. She’s a rich girl who tends to shy away from other people or trying new things by pushing them away with her attitude. She takes her own life for granted in many ways, not understanding how well off she is compared to others. She’s musically talented, but from what we saw, only played music alone. Basically, Maki to me felt like she had a more satisfying journey / development than many of the other girls.

Favourite Maki moment was when the girls were at Maki’s family lodge and Maki was bragging about how she keeps their chimney clean, and that Santa always visits their house because of it. Such sweet innocence!

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She was so proud of herself too. 🙂

Best Scene

My favourite moment from Love Live! was when no one showed up to Honoka & friends first performance, after they had worked so hard to advertise it and try to generate interest. I can honestly say I didn’t expect no one to show up, and thought “wow this is pretty harsh isn’t it?”. Even I felt sad for them at that moment. Who would have thought that a high school girl anime could drop such a bomb on the viewers so early on?
Well done.

This moment really sets the stage for Honoka & friends moving forward – a very important scene I think. At any point after that scene, you can just remember where they started and how far they have made it. Muse started from the bottom all right.

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Just as smiles are twice as effective from Maki, sad faces are twice as effective from Honoka..

Conclusion

I didn’t expect Love Live! to be such a fun anime. Love Live! just has this charm that pulled me in and kept me there. While normally high school girl anime have trouble keeping my interest, something about the energy in Love Live! made me want to learn more about the characters, and watch them succeed.

I’d say that the first season is underrated on MAL. I actually enjoyed the first season more than the second, but I’d rate the second season pretty much where it’s rated now on MAL.

It’s a fun watch that I would recommend to anyone.

Finally, I’ll give Love Live! School Idol Project the Plenty of Smiles award. While the girls go through some tough times and have to make some tough decisions, optimism and smiles prevail in the end. A very honest and happy anime.

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That’s all for anime L!

Until next time!
Thanks for reading.

13 thoughts on “Anime A to Z: L – Love Live! School Idol Project (S1 + S2)

  1. Glad to read you enjoyed Love Live as much as you did. I also like that scene with Honoka in her first performance. It wasn’t something I was expecting, but a nice touch. Between the girls, could never choose between Honoka, or Eli. Honoka makes the rain stop in one episode while Eli is a blonde Russian….tough to pick hahaha.

    I also wanted more out of the characters, but it didn’t do too bad with the large cast it had. They were fun to see, and grow throughout the anime. Still haven’t seen Love Live Sunshine so don’t know myself if its as good. Although, my bro who seen it told me he enjoys it, but not as much as season 1 & 2.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a nice review! I know not everyone likes girly idol anime, and “Love Live” sort of has a bad rap for being too childish compared to other shows (to hardcore idol fans at least, heh…) but, I think it’s a really sweet show. It warms my heart to see such positive characters working hard towards their dreams! So happy to hear you went into it with an open mind and enjoyed it~! ♥ ^^ My best girl is between Kotori and Nozomi.

    I’m new to your blog, so I’m not sure if you’re reviewed other idol anime in the past…I definitely suggest checking out Love Live! Sunshine!! but have you watched/considered watching the Idolm@ster series…? >w<

    Have a fantastic day~!
    – Hikari

    Liked by 1 person

  3. darkdaemonpk2

    I cannot bring my self to like this show since the creator of the series also made the Sister Princess franchise, which I also equally hate with a passion. Good job on the review though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. darkdaemonpk2

        Let’s see… Sister Princess was a siscon fest (but not in that manner) with a lot of imoutos that can fill an entire living room (the anime adaptation was ranging from awful to “were they drunk when they made this thing?”). Remembering that made me want to cringe. Then from the same author of Sister Princess came an animé about twins, lotsa twins, that again, you can fill an entire living room and still make space for the only protagonist. Not really that bad but it has Sister Princess oozing at the core. Remembering that makes me want to cringe. And now, we have Love Live which follows the same formula like its predecessors but this time it is designed as a money making machine for both the author and Sunrise. Remembering that makes me want to cringe all over again.

        Like

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